Prominent radio broadcaster succumbs suddenly to cancer
December 20, 2011
Prominent radio broadcaster succumbs suddenly to cancer

The sudden passing of Juanita Francois, one of this country’s more prominent radio broadcasters, has left a void that will not be easily filled.{{more}}

Francois, 38, died last Thursday, December 15, at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital, after a brief battle with cancer.

Corlita Ollivierre, General Manager of the National Broadcasting Corporation, commonly known as NBC radio, said that Francois’ passing was difficult for many, particularly those who did not know the severity of her illness.

“For some people, they knew about it (illness), but for others they did not realize that it was life-threatening; so, for some, the information was a little more difficult to take,” Ollivierre explained.

And although she had been informed of Francois’ medical condition, Ollivierre shared that the news of Francois’ passing “still came kind of sudden.”

Ollivierre said a decision had been taken by the staff of NBC radio to assist Francois with her medical expenses, even after they were advised that seeking medical intervention overseas would be of no help.

Francois joined staff at NBC Radio back in September 1992, coming in as an announcer, before moving between the news and programming departments, Ollivierre said.

She eventually made her way up the ladder to the position of news editor and then moved on to the position of acting programming manager and then programming manager, the position she filled at the time of her death.

“In terms of work, she brought a strong work ethic,” Ollivierre said.

“She had a passion for work that drove her and it also drove her interaction with the other members of her department,” she continued.

Francois, who was known on air as “The Love Specialist”, spearheaded projects since her return from studies in Jamaica and, according to Ollivierre, was someone that she could rely on to get things done.

She described Francois as a very receptive person, one who was always open to ideas.

“She was quite loyal and willing; she never complained about her workload,” Ollivierre said, adding that even in sickness, Francois would think about how she could not be there for her colleagues.

Francois has been described by her friends as hard-working, witty and intelligent and not one to let obstacles get in her way. Callers to NBC radio, expressing their condolences, described the Edinboro resident as having an outgoing personality and a beautiful voice.

She is survived by one son, Jared Francois, a first-year student at the St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College Division of Arts, Sciences and General Studies, sisters, as well as other close relatives and friends.

The funeral service for Francois is scheduled for Thursday, December 29, at a venue yet to be decided. (DD)